There's an old joke, probably from Hollywood, that when someone says, "It's not about the money...", it's really about the money.
The Castro's bankrupted Cuba fifty years ago by implementing misguided nationalist, socialist and communal economic policies. It took the failure of the Soviet Union and its ending of its sponsorship of the Castros to make this obvious and to destine Cubans to live in abject poverty.
Everything that the Castros have done since that bleak day in 1994 has been geared toward keeping the doors open; maintaining the federal police as well as the urban grays - the PNR - and the secret police.
I've written before about Cuba's 6th Congress of a year and a half ago and what a distortion of the truth it was. How it was really a money grab disguised as a new economic development strategy. Going to a two currency system allowed them to grab an extra 10% of the US cash that ex-pat Cubans and tourists bring intot he country.
Now there's chatter about them allowing residents to use debit cards in the dollar stores.
No Cubans (outside of government bribe-takers) have so much legal income that they can afford to make a big show of shopping in the Benitton stores or paying full retail for cigars. And they're sure as hell smart enough to not use their debit card accounts for the cash that they earn on the side. Like everything else the Castros do, it's about them and money, not Cubans and well-being.
From Yoani Sanchez blog --- Generation Y:
Albert (qui ose gagne)
Abril 29th, 2010 at 05:26 isn’t ironic?
batista’s & his regime inspired the rebolution acording to fidelious babosi (I hate to agree but I must).
Batista allowed corruption, exploitation, abuse of laws, prostitution & gambling & made more than evident the gap betweent the have’s & have’s not” … to be short.
Now … 50 odd years later we have corruption, exploitation, abuse of laws & the same gap between the “have’s & have’s not”
Borrowing from a comment from someone that have seen many a cuban well dressed, driving a late model car & lining up to enter a nightclub (if I take it as face value) proves the existence of the ever elusive “elite” as it existed in batista’s time.
Perhaps they are the children of the nomenklatura or part of the corruption regardless … they exist.
They exist in this 50 odd year rebolution inspired by the quest for equality & fairness.
Yes, cubans are better educated & have a good health system & subsidized food & other great benefits yet …
They are still poor, underpaid (exploited) abused & repressed, just like in batista’s time.
I don’t remember reading about starving cubans but I remember reading & hearing about cubans picking thru the trash … a directive was passed “legislating” the activity of the buzos.
I am sure the buzos “love” to pick in the trash for a source of income or substinence.
I do remember reading & hearing about the transportation system serving a large number of the regular population, where as always the uncany cuban “resolve” overcomes the shortcommings of the service … while the late model cars pass by …
I do remember the black market & the reason for its existence, I also remember most cubans holding a 2nd. even 3th. job to make ends meet.
That is the black market that makes available (for a profit) luxury items … like clothing, food stuffs, shoes etc. so: where does the money come from to support such extravagances which according to the fidelious babosi the people does not need?
As I said before … from the cuban’s back, from working, bartering, diving into refuse bins, prostituting, selling drugs, stealing … why … because they have to survive, specially after the 12th day of the month.
Batista was bad for the cuban people, the situatio was horrid thru the country … after 50 odd years … it remains the same, names have hanged, faces have changed, slogans have changed … the greed & corruption remains the same …
While filling their mouth w/Marti’s words about his love for Cuba, comparing themselves to him, to Maceo & all the greats … fidelious babosi and his lackeys betray, lie & steal … like a prostitute, they sold themselves to greed, confort & power.
As it were … they lay in their beds, w/their soul’s legs wide open offering it for sale, cheap & degraded.
Brian Lloyd French
I am a great admirer of the strength and talents of Cuban people and will share some of my experiences here.